Winter Storm Jonas tracked across the eastern United States this past weekend dropping near-record amounts of snowfall in a track from West Virginia through southern New York. Two things about this storm are particularly interesting: 1) the heavy amounts of snow that fell for long periods of time and 2) the relatively narrow swath of the heaviest snows. Below is the 48-hour snow accumulations from the National Weather Service ending Sunday, January 24. It is striking that New York City received on the order of 30 inches of snow, while areas less than 100 miles to the north received little if any snow.
Select Eastern Region WFOs are currently evaluating the NESDIS Snowfall Rate product, which uses passive microwave observations from 5 sensors, to observe total column snowfall rates. Below is a series of images from this past weekend showing the SFR product displayed as a 10:1 solid/liquid conversion. The darkest greens indicate snowfall rates at the top of the sensor detection range at approximately 2″/hr. Depending on the actual solid/liquid ratio in individual areas, rates may have been higher.
In the images, the NESDIS SFR product shows very good agreement with the location and track of the heaviest snows (greens) compared to the heaviest totals in the ground reports. Additionally, the SFR product does well in picking up the abrupt northern edge of the snowfall (especially across southern New York).
UPDATE: The Sterling, VA WFO included mention of the SFR product in a forecast discussion to confirm snowfall rates that would cause white out conditions: